Dear sparkly unicorn friends of the male gender: I hear you.
I hear that my glee in shopping for ALL THE WASHI TAPE may not evoke the same feelings of joy for you. (But if it does, highest of fives.) I also hear that bullet journaling, in particular, can be overwhelming in its artsy/scrapbooking incarnations. I hear you. I do.
History is riddled with men who kept personal journals. Riddled. As Brett and Kate McKay point out at The Art of Manliness, writing journals were kept by the likes of:
And yet, in 2018, men often approach the idea of journaling with trepidation. That apprehension seems to be rooted in the idea that journaling is about making pretty pages. As one Redditor says, he was initially “blown away by all the girls with fancy tape and stuff.”
That Redditor isn’t a lone wolf either. In his YouTube video, Matthew Kent expresses the same sentiments. Kent had watched other YouTube videos, hoping for bullet journaling inspiration. But, he had difficulty relating to the aesthetic that the other Youtubers presented. He explains:
I want[ed] to get a guy’s perspective and see …somebody doing [bullet journaling] who isn’t quite filling it up with all these colors that I don’t want to fill my journal up with. And, you know, has about my artistic level because I’m not good. … I think most girls are more artsy than most guys.
Well here’s the thing, my dear sassy cats of all genders: journaling is what you want it to be. I’ve said it before and will keep saying it: Your journal is yours. You do you. No one says you HAVE TO use “fancy tape” but no one says you CAN’T.
In most cases, our personal journals are for our eyes only. And, that’s a good thing. Journals are at their most valuable when we use them as “a safe space to offload, without fear of being judged.”
Keeping a personal diary or journal has so many benefits. Stop worrying about what your journal should look like and just start writing.
Wait! Just Start Writing?
The act of journaling is introspective. And, as Clair De Boer writes, men often have some fear about introspective writing. “On the whole,” De Boer says, “men are less likely to open up emotionally amongst friends, whereas women do this often.”
It’s tempting to roll my eyes here. “Duh! This is news?” But that flippancy fades when faced with statistics. They are startling. Ollie Aplin’s stats in The Guardian are for Great Britain but are relevant nonetheless:
This is exactly why you should just start writing. Personal journals provide a safe space to unload, vent, process, express emotions, and get introspective.
But What Exactly Do I Write?
Your personal diary or journal can be used for all sorts of things:
Again, I hear you: the whole washi tape debacle. Getting in touch with your emotions. Lined journals vs those with blank or dotted pages. Moleskine vs. Leuchtturm vs. SohoSpark. Indexes and bullet keys. So much to consider.
Yep, it’s overwhelming. Yep, you should still do it.
As already stated, journaling is good for your mental health. That should be reason enough.
Writing down goals--be they daily tasks or bigger, bucket-list items--helps you keep your eye on the prize.
Habit trackers, which help you monitor things like your health and wellness, fitness, budgeting, screen time, and chores, can provide valuable insights. And those insights can provide the motivation you need to complete positive habits (or nix negative ones).
Doing braindumps can provide clarity as you clear your mind of extraneous thoughts.
It’s easier to remember stuff when you write it down.
As you review your journal periodically, you can get a better understanding of where you are in life, and where you want to go. Have your dreams and goals changed? Do you need to drink more water? Are you paying your bills on time?
And, finally, a journal is a terrific organizational tool. And that’s really what a bullet journal, in particular, was meant to be.
Whatever your vision for your journal is, just do it, my sparkly unicorn friends. And, yes, men: that includes you too.
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Starting this year, I’ll be doing something else to recharge and destress: journaling. Both Bullet Journals and writing journals can help you manage the chaos of the holiday season - so that you can focus on the joy.
It's a proven fact: Kindness makes you feel happy and feeling happy makes you kinder.
Tracking kindness is a terrific way to keep kindness on our radar and incorporate more of it into our lives. Just as a gratitude journal makes us more attuned to the things that we’re grateful for, a kindness journal or tracker makes us more aware of those moments of grace. And, especially if we have a goal of recording one (or more) acts of kindness daily, we’ll be more apt to take action.